Lake Park banks on defense against Naperville Central

 
 
Updated 12/9/2014 10:29 PM

This wasn't a normal meeting between DuPage Valley Conference boys basketball teams, which might explain Tuesday's ragged play between Lake Park and Naperville Central.

The Lancers proved to be a little less ragged, especially in the second half while pulling away to a 45-34 win in an Addison Trail Invite game played in Roselle.

 

Lake Park's fourth straight win marked the fourth time it's allowed fewer than 40 points. Two other times the Lancers allowed only 41.

"We've banked on our defense all season," said Lancers senior forward Michael Karas. "We know we're not going to win games unless we play defense. There's no other way we're going to win."

There were four lead changes and two ties in the opening minutes of the third quarter before the Lancers (6-1) took the lead for good with a 12-5 run to close the period. After trailing 35-24 on a three-point play by Karas midway through the fourth quarter, Naperville Central (6-2) came within 40-34 with 1:35 left on Matt Meier's three-point play.

Lake Park, however, tallied the game's final 5 points to seal the win.

The teams still have two DVC games to play against each other and could meet at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic later this month. Both sides expect better efforts in the future meetings.

"No excuses, they just outworked us," said Redhawks coach Pete Kramer, whose team beat Universal in the invite's opening round on Monday. "Everything was tough tonight. I thought we were out of sync all night, but Lake Park had a lot to do with it."

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Tuesday marked the first time this season Naperville Central's entire 15-player roster took the court, and the lack of cohesion showed while the Redhawks strung together only 11 first-half points. Lake Park leaned on its defense the entire game but finally started to get some shots to fall in the second half.

Karas scored 9 of his 13 points in the second half while Connor Vance scored 7 of his 11 and Marcus McDaniel had all 9 of his points. Meier led Naperville Central with 11 points and Nate Dahl added 9.

"I think both teams came out flat," said Lake Park coach Josh Virostko. "If we play like the second half, we'll be a little bit better off this year. As long as we guard, we're going to be in games."

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